FF Type-0 was originally a PSP game released in 2011. This year, Square Enix decided to give it a HD port to the PS4, but does it really live up to what HD stands for in the world of gaming today? Were you guilty of purchasing this game just because it came with the download of FFXV: Episode Duscae?
Due to this game originally being released for the PSP, porting it to the PS4 was a mistake, as graphics were not improved in the slightest – in fact, details of character outfits were actually removed in this HD release. The difference between the resolution of a PSP game and the resolution of a PS4 game is huge, and this was not taken into account in this game. On a large TV, this game looks terrible, and it makes you wonder what HD really means.
HD refers to 1080p: 1920 x 1080p or higher, it actually doesn’t refer to graphics at all – that was until games had started to be released in these higher resolutions, claiming that graphics were also remastered and improved for this resolution. Unfortunately, FF Type-0 does not do this, and the graphics look blocky. Textures are pixelated and messy, very little work has been done to actually make anything look better, which is a definite fail on Square Enix, as they are known for superior graphical quality and detail in their games.
Despite the fact that ‘HD’ doesn’t refer to graphical quality, it is a term that is being used to catch the eye of buyers, it has become a commonly used word in games that have been re-released on a different console. HD means that everything is going to look better, and not just be presented to players at a higher resolution that forces textures to look flat and lifeless. The only way I can describe the graphics is that it looks like FFX-2 quality, or worse. It was released in 2011, you would expect more from Square Enix.
If the game actually happened to look as good as it does here, I wouldn’t be complaining. But it doesn’t. It’s a flat out lie, unfortunately.
FF Type-0 goes into territory that Square has never really gone into before. It shows players the reality of war – dying, losing your loved ones and having to face people and events you simply aren’t emotionally prepared for. I found myself cringing a little at how real the game was portraying itself. It isn’t like Square at all to show splashes of blood when a soldier is brutally stabbed to death. I haven’t played the original release, so it was honestly a little confronting to see something like this. I was prepared for magical explosions and sparkles, not reality!
The storyline for this game feels rather generic, but it was done in such a way where I struggled to follow it. Names of characters and important figures are thrown at you left right and center & it’s all a little overwhelming. A simple way to describe the plot is that there is an army fighting against other nations of Orience, lead by Marshal Cid Aulstyne. In the beginning, magic jammers are used to drop the crystal defences of Rubrum, allowing easy access to the land so it can be destroyed. This act provokes a group by the name of Class Zero, who you will be taking control of when the game finally starts.
This storyline is very difficult to put into a couple of sentences and it is recommended that you pay close attention to the cutscenes, even though they take away from the flow of gameplay. I hate being stopped in the middle of running through an open area only to be greeted with a long and drawn out cutscene that could have been explained by character interaction while remaining in the game. Upon completing the game once and going through another new game, more plot points are apparently revealed, but I did not feel like I enjoyed it enough to sit with through it a second time around.
Luckily, the soundtrack of this game is fantastic, as expected of Square Enix. They have managed to impress us for years with beautiful soundtracks and they do not disappoint us here. It’s a shame that it sometimes feels as if the tracks are not loud enough when you are in a busy environment. I would much rather listen to a beautiful song than the screeching of a nearby enemy and the splashing of water underneath my feet. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an option to only have the soundtrack playing in the background instead of all the other present noise, but it is still possible to appreciate the great musical score.
For this game, I decided to go with the English voices to see how well they had been done. I wasn’t expecting anything overly marvellous, and because of this I wasn’t disappointed. The voice acting is decent enough, but it is nothing to write home about, unfortunately. There doesn’t seem to be any outstanding voice work, and I don’t recognise any of the English voice actors, however, for such a large cast of voiced characters, a decent job was done. There are always going to be problems when a game is translated from Japanese to English – mistranslations, incorrect phrases and the voice direction is completely different, due to how the English language works. I do think that it could be a lot better, as sometimes the voice acting also felt rather generic and plain, but it definitely isn’t a factor that should go into whether you buy the game or not, as the original Japanese voices are available for selection.
Gameplay seems to be where this game falls incredibly short. I understand that PSP games and PS4 games can play and feel very differently, but things like camera movements and the battle system should have been taken into account for this HD release. It is not difficult to adjust the way the camera rotates and the speed at which it rotates, and it is clear that there was no thought at all put into core mechanics and action of the game.
First of all, the camera is horrendous. I felt myself feeling steadily nauseous whenever I moved the camera around even just a little bit. For some reason, it’s overly sensitive and it creates a very wonky feel to the game, instead of using a system that worked with fixed camera angles (like previous games). It’s very dizzying.
The actual battle system is interesting. It is a real-time battle system much like FFXII, where you can roam around freely and dodge if you time your moves well enough. I have no problems with a real-time battle system, I think it feels a lot more natural than something turn-based. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a few flaws within the actual fighting itself. You have attacks that correspond to the buttons on the right side of the controller and pressing them in combination results in different attacks, which is perfectly reasonable, but bosses seem to be overpowered and the AI simply cannot keep up. I would attempt to do a combination of different attacks only to be knocked down by a boss monster, which completely cancels out the attack. The first boss you encounter in the first ~30 minutes of the game is incredibly broken and overpowered to the point where I tossed the controller down several times, frustrated with the lazy AI.
The AI in this game seems to suffer from the same problem as the AI in FFXV: Episode Duscae. When you are knocked down, you expect your teammates to pick you up and heal you within a few seconds, as you might want to conserve potions for a later time in the game. I died countless times to the first boss due to the fact that the AI would just stand there and let me die. You are given a second chance in battle, allowing you to switch to the next person in your team, but this does no good. The AI suffers an awful cycle where it simply cannot heal you fast enough and everyone dies within about 30 seconds. Not being able to get past the first boss for quite some time is quite worrying, and that’s how you know that you’ve missed something crucial in development. The game itself doesn’t feel overly difficult, the AI of your team is what makes it so difficult to progress. Prepare to get frustrated if you have a short temper like myself.
Overall, this game is alright, at best. It is definitely not a game I would recommend to others purchasing for their PS4, I believe it would be much better to just play it on PSP and enjoy the game in its original habitat. If, like me, you feel like you are obligated to buy and play every Final Fantasy game released, then do get it, as it will probably satisfy your thirst for ultimate power and an overly convoluted story.